Like most parents, I want my children to be seen as leaders and excellent communicators. I am often looked to as a leader and a communicator, and I'll be honest that I'm not entirely comfortable with the roles, although I'm honored (and humbled) to be seen that way.
Zan defines the final tool for helping children reach their potential as “fostering leadership and communication skills.” Although I haven't made it a point to “teach” leadership, I'm already seeing my girls exhibit some leadership and communication skills that humble me and make me thankful for the work God is doing in their lives.
This summer, just before she turned 9, my older daughter went to spend the weekend with a cousin at my mom's house. My mom called to tell me how proud she was of her and that I should be too. The situation? The cousin wanted to watch a show on TV that my daughter wasn't entirely comfortable with. She chose to leave the room and find a quiet place to read, saying “I think this is a better way for me to spend my time.” The movie wasn't anything terrible, but she wasn't sure it met her standards. My mom offered to change it, but she declined, saying she would be fine while her cousin watched the show.
My younger daughter isn't always as tactful in how she expresses her thoughts, but she has similar standards and desires to do what God wants her to do, even when it's hard and she doesn't really want to.
I'm not a supermom, and I haven't been spending a lot of time trying to teach the girls to stand up for what they believe. What I have done is spent a lot of time doing the very things 7 Tools describes: talking to them about a lot of topics, explaining why our family has the rules it does, discussing what God would have us do in different situations, looking up and studying Scripture when we're not sure what we should do, and encouraging the girls to put God's principles ahead of their personal desires and feelings. Of course, all of this means nothing if they don't see it lived out. So, my husband and I (imperfectly) walk out what we teach them.
Above all, we tell the girls again and again that they are precious to God, that He loves them, and that He has a wonderful plan for their lives. Life isn't easy, but I think they're starting to see the truth of those statements. I pray that, like Daniel, they will find ways to stand up for what they believe is right and affect the course of nations as they do!
How do you develop leadership and communication skills in your children?
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